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surface wave

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Definition of surface wave

noun Geology.
a seismic wave that travels along or parallel to the earth's surface (distinguished from body wave).
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Scientific definitions for surface wave

surface wave

A seismic wave that travels across the surface of the Earth as opposed to through it. Surface waves usually have larger amplitudes and longer wavelengths than body waves, and they travel more slowly than body waves do. Love waves and Rayleigh waves are kinds of surface waves. Compare body wave. See Note at earthquake.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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